5 Lifestyle Changes to Improve Your Cholesterol

By now, most people are aware that the “standard” American diet is unhealthy — full of trans fats, excessive salt, and lots of sugar. It’s no wonder why heart disease and stroke are the number one killers. Having high cholesterol increases your chances of heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. Below are five easy lifestyle changes that will strengthen your heart and could possibly keep you off cholesterol-lowering medications.

Incorporate Heart-Healthy Foods

  • Saturated “healthy” fats should be about 5 percent of your daily calories. They can be found in red meats, dairy, coconut oil and palm oil.
  • Eliminate trans fats, they increase “bad” cholesterol and lower “good.” Skip the junk food snacking — cookies, snack cakes, and any item containing partially hydrogenated oils.
  • Get Your Omega-3 fatty acids from almonds, walnuts, salmon, and eggs. They increase HDL (“good” cholesterol) which, in turn, lowers blood pressure.

Increase Physical Activity

Moderate physical activity can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Adding any physical activity, even a few 10-minute intervals a few times a day, will begin to help you. As you keep going, you will notice you can go longer and longer. The following activities are simple to work in every day:

  • Taking a brisk daily walk during your lunch
  • Vigorously clean your house
  • Stretching or pacing while watching TV
  • Playing a sport with friends or your kids

Limit Alcohol Intake

Too much alcohol on a regular basis can lead to a fatal heart problem, like heart failure and stroke. Women can maintain their health and have one drink per day, while men can have up to two drinks.

Lose Weight

Increasing physical activity will definitely help with this one. If you are overweight or obese, losing as little as five to 10 percent of your weight can improve cholesterol levels. Keep an accurate food diary to recognize where you are going wrong and start making smarter food choices. The good news is that by being aware of your calories in and out, you can easily lose ten pounds or more a month.

Stop Smoking

Within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. In one year, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker. Within 15 years, your risk of heart disease is nearly that of someone who never smoked.

Test Smartly Labs offers DNA tests for an array of health issues, contact your nearest location today.

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